President Donald Trump had another confrontational exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday, which ended with the president calling for the microphone to be taken away from the correspondent, saying he is a “rude, terrible person.”
At the president’s first news conference after Tuesday’s pivotal midterm elections, Acosta began his questioning of Trump by saying he wanted to challenge the president on how he characterized the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico.
“Here we go,” Trump interjected.
Acosta wanted to know why Trump calls it an “invasion” when migrants are not at the border yet, and added, “Do you think that you demonized immigrants in this election?”
Trump answered, “No, I want them to come into the country, but they have to come country legally. They have to come in through a process.”
He contended the country needs the people in light of its booming economy.
President Trump to Jim @Acosta: “You should let me run the country. You run CNN.”
“That’s enough. Put down the mic. CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude terrible person.” pic.twitter.com/GR9TIbKUok
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 7, 2018
Acosta pointed to an ad the Trump campaign released before the midterms showing illegal immigrants “pouring over walls.”
“They weren’t actors,” the president countered.
Trump began to close down the exchange, saying, “You know what I think? You should let me run the country, and you run CNN, and if you ran it well, your ratings would be much better.”
A female aide then reached for the microphone, which Acosta would not relinquish, prompting a short struggle.
Acosta also refused to sit down as Trump sought to call on a different reporter and continued trying to ask a another question, prompting the president to turn to him and say, “That’s enough, put down the mic.”
Trump then stepped away from the lectern until Acosta gave the female staffer the microphone. When the president returned to the podium, he made his feelings clear.
“I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump stated, pointing his finger at Acosta. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”
“The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible,” he added. “You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
Here’s another view of the microphone struggle.
— The Daily Wire (@realDailyWire) November 7, 2018
Trump called on NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander, who before asking his question came to Acosta’s defense, saying, “He’s a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us.”
The president replied, “I’m not a big fan of yours either to be honest with you,” which generated laughter from the room.
Even after Alexander’s question started, however, Acosta still wouldn’t be quiet, rising up to challenge Trump again without the microphone.
That prompted Trump to get even harsher.
“Just sit down, please,” he told Acosta with evident annoyance.
Apparently responding to statements Acosta made without the microphone, Trump said:
“When you report fake news … no. When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
Later Wednesday, Acosta tweeted his thanks to Alexander in response to a tweet from Washington Post White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker about the testy exchange.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 7, 2018
At another point in the news conference, Trump was asked if he would become more unifying in his rhetoric going forward.
“I think the media is a very divisive thing for our country,” he answered. “And you would be amazed at how smart people are that are reading your stories…You’d be amazed how smart and perceptive they are. They get it. And it really does bring disunity.”
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